If we’re friends on Facebook, you might already know that I went to the doctor recently and found out that I’d lost over an inch in height. Almost two inches, actually.
My whole worldview was shattered.
I’d gone to my mid-day appointment and stepped onto the height-measuring apparatus without thinking about it, because I had no reason to. There was no suspense. My height’s never changed: I’m 65 inches tall. That’s 5′,5″.
But the guy in the blue scrubs said, “Looks like you’re 5′,3″ and just about…” He looked closer at the number lines. “A quarter.”
I shook my head in surprise. “No, I’m 5′,5″.”
“Sorry. It says 5′,3” and a maybe a quarter.”
“There must be something wrong with it,” I said, referring to the apparatus. “I’ve always been 5′,5″.”
He chuckled. “Okay. Here… let’s try it one more time.”
I stepped onto the apparatus again (is there a name for that thing?) and stood as tall as I could.
“Five three and a quarter,” he said. “For sure.”
I thought, This is fake news.
“Everyone loses height as they age, I’m afraid,” he said, still grinning and chuckling.
I stalked after him to the examination room. His cheerfulness was out of line. It could be that his height-measuring apparatus needed to be recalibrated, but he wasn’t questioning it!
I thought, how could I lose almost two inches? I was measured at the V.A. – where I usually go – just weeks ago, and their result was the same as always: 65 inches. 5′,5″.
It wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it was wrong.
Later, a friend told me on Facebook that most people tend to measure, on average, half an inch shorter during the day, then spring back to their normal height overnight while they sleep. My appointment had been in the middle of the day, so I thought, that could be it. But still! Almost two inches?
I asked Callaghan to measure me first thing the morning. The result was exactly 65 inches, as it should be. Ha! Then he measured me again in the afternoon, and GUESS WHAT. Still 65 inches. Ha! Ha! Not only am I 65 inches tall, but I’m 65 inches tall all day. My driver’s license is still correct: 5′-05″.
“His apparatus does need to be recalibrated,” I said to Callaghan. I was annoyed. “The guy was totally condescending. He didn’t even consider that his equipment might be faulty. He probably just thought, ‘She’s old, so she’s shrinking, and I’m young, and I’m wearing blue scrubs, so I’m right, and I’m not going to listen to her, ha ha ha’.”
How would this be characterized in the parlance of our times? Did he mansplain my own height to me, or did he youngsplain it? (If he -splained anything by way of not questioning the apparatus.)
“It’s true, two inches is too big of a difference, especially all at once. It doesn’t matter anyway, though,” Callaghan said. “He’s going to die of a moltnoma!!”
“What’s a moltnoma?”
“I can’t believe you still don’t know what a moltnoma is. Over the last seven years you’ve asked me five times what is a moltnoma, and you never remember it when I say that someone will die of it.”
“I don’t know why I can’t remember it. So what is a moltnoma?”
“It’s a county in Portland, Oregon.”
“…when I was working in California, we worked with this person who lived in Portland,” he explained. “And then I learned that the county was “moltnoma.” That’s where Portland is.”
I was already cracking up when he concluded, “So I was like, it sounds like a disease like “melanoma” so now I just say that someone will die of a moltnoma as a general cause of death.”
I looked it up. “Multnomah County.” Cool.
Anyway, I’m going back to that doctor on Wednesday, and I’m going to inform the guy in the blue scrubs that his machine is off. People probably do shrink a little over time as they age, but I’m not there yet, and I’m probably not going to lose almost two inches all at once, either. Ha.